Sadio Mané, Heung-Min Son, Raphaël Varane and several other injured stars have been or will be named in their countries’ World Cup squads despite injuries that threatened to keep them out of Qatar. They are, to varying degrees, still questionable for the 2022 tournament, which kicks off Nov. 20, but they will be there.
Other prominent players, however, are stuck on an injury list that seems to grow by the day. Argentina lost Giovani Lo Celso, and Mexico lost Jesús “Tecatito” Corona. N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba have long since been ruled out. Reece James joined them on Thursday.
They have all been done in by this World Cup’s unprecedented timing, smack-dab in the middle of club seasons. And others could yet join them on the sidelines.
Below is an incomplete list of the most notable players who’ve been ruled out for the 2022 World Cup, followed by a list of those who haven’t been ruled out but remain doubtful. Both will be updated as the roster deadline (Nov. 14) and kickoff (Nov. 20) approach.
Players who’ll miss World Cup due to injury
N’Golo Kante, France — The superhuman midfielder strained his hamstring in August, then aggravated the injury after returning to training in October. He underwent surgery, and will be out for 3-4 months.
Paul Pogba, France — France’s midfield maestro sustained a meniscus injury in July. He initially opted against surgery, but later, in consultation with doctors, realized he needed it. As of mid-October, he appeared on track to recuperate just in time for Qatar, but his rehab was reportedly interrupted by a muscle injury. With doubts swirling, his agent ended any remaining hopes of a miraculous return.
Reece James, England — James, who likely would’ve started at right back for England, hurt his knee playing for Chelsea in October and will miss roughly two months. He was, as a result, left out of Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad.
Jesús “Tecatito” Corona, Mexico — Mexico’s soccer federation confirmed Tuesday what fans of El Tri have been dreading: Corona hasn’t yet recovered from the devastating leg injury he suffered in August and will not be joining the team in Qatar.
Giovani Lo Celso, Argentina — Lo Celso, a potential starter in midfield for Argentina, needs surgery to repair a quad injury, and has been ruled out.
Timo Werner, Germany — Werner was, potentially, Germany’s starting striker. But he injured his ankle playing in the Champions League for RB Leipzig, and the club says he’ll miss the remainder of the year.
Mike Maignan, France — The AC Milan keeper, who arguably should have started for France ahead of Hugo Lloris, was ruled out … and then he wasn’t … and then he was, due to a calf injury.
Georginio Wijnaldum, Netherlands — Wijnaldum fractured his tibia in August, leaving a hole in the Dutch midfield.
Diogo Jota, Portugal — Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Oct. 18 that Jota, who might’ve started for Portugal in Qatar, will miss the World Cup after sustaining a calf injury in stoppage time against Man City.
Ben Chilwell, England — Chilwell tore his hamstring in an early-November Champions League game. Chelsea confirmed a few days later that he would miss Qatar.
Pedro Neto, Portugal — The Wolves winger injured ankle ligaments in early October.
Boubacar Kamara, France — Karmara would’ve been a potential Kante replacement for France. But a knee ligament injury has ruled him out of the World Cup.
Miles Robinson, United States — Robinson had established himself as a starting center back for the U.S. Then he tore his Achilles tendon in May.
Chris Richards, United States — Richards was the presumed Robinson replacement. But he has played just one first-team game since April. Ahead of the U.S. roster announcement, Richards revealed on Instagram that a lingering hamstring injury had ruled him out and left him “gutted.”
Sam Vines, United States — Vines was a fringe roster candidate at best. Now he isn’t. He announced on Saturday that he’d broken his tibia and will be out for 3-4 months.
Injured players in World Cup squads
Sadio Mané, Senegal — Mané’s leg injury, suffered 12 days before the World Cup opener, has left his status up in the air. He will reportedly be in Senegal’s squad when it’s named on Friday, but it’s unclear how much, if at all, he’ll play in Qatar.
Son Heung-min, South Korea — Son suffered a fracture around his left eye playing for Tottenham, and underwent surgery a few days later. He confirmed a week before heading to Qatar, though, that he will be available for selection.
Romelu Lukaku, Belgium — Lukaku worked his way back from a hamstring injury, only to suffer another hamstring injury shortly after his return. He hasn’t started a game since August. But he’s among Belgium’s 26.
Raphaël Varane, France — Varane, when he went down with an awkward-looking injury while playing for Manchester United last month, feared the worst. But the diagnosis was a thigh muscle injury that would sideline him for only 3-4 weeks — a timetable that compelled French coach Didier Deschamps to pick Varane, even if he won’t be fully fit by the opener.
Kyle Walker, England — Walker had groin surgery in early October. He hasn’t played since, but is approaching the end of his recovery road,
Kalvin Phillips, England — Phillips started for England at last summer’s Euros, but has battled multiple injuries ever since. He opted for shoulder surgery earlier this fall, and hasn’t played since for Manchester City. Like Walker, he’s in England’s squad, but probably won’t be in the starting lineup when the games begin.
Ronald Araujo, Uruguay — The Barcelona defender was considered doubtful after tearing a thigh muscle while playing for Uruguay on Sept. 23. He underwent surgery in Finland the following week. He was expected to be out until the new year. Uruguay, however, named him to its roster on Thursday night.
Pepe, Portugal — The 39-year-old center back was, despite his age, still a probable starter for Portugal. But he’s been out with a sprained knee, and a recovery in time for Qatar is looking increasingly unlikely.
This page will be updated with any further injury news over the coming month.